Cronulla v Auckland

Sharks take points in bruising encounter with Vulcans

May 27  2012

by Jodie Newell

It was a tough, uncompromising and bruising encounter between the Cronulla Sharks and the Auckland Vulcans played at the Belmore Sports Ground in Round 13 of the VB NSW Cup.


Anyone who suggests that an NRL player demoted to the VB NSW competition is in for some easy touches and game form can think again. This match featured a high level of solid tackling and fast paced hit ups with both giving their all in an entertaining game of rugby league.

Typically, both sides tested each other out in the early stages, before Sharks centre Sosaia Feki used every bit of real estate available sneaking over the try-line and opened the Sharks account at four points to zero. Chad Townsend missed the conversion Sharks 4 Vulcans 0

Cronulla  kept up the pressure and were soon on the board again, thanks to a line break from Josh Cordoba who offloaded to Sosaia Feki who scored, again exposing the Vulcans on the left side. Chad Townsend made no mistake this time, increasing their margin to 10-0.

The Vulcans had a chance to get on the board soon after the Cronulla try, but thanks to handling errors they were unable to capitalise on their good field position. The Sharks were defending well via solid tackling from prop Jon Green, but Auckland’s persistence paid off with Leni Sulusi scoring in the corner. Carlos Tuimavave failed with conversion, the margin cut to six points. The Vulcans were soon on the board again again after a bursting run from skipper Pita Godinet with Dylan Collier converting and it was tied 10-10.

The half ended in dramatic fashion when Vulcan five-eighth Willie Stowers broke the line and looked headed for an amazing try but was tackled and brought down short. The Sharks countered, almost scoring, with Sosaia Feki dropping a high ball in the end zone. The referees deemed that Feki had been interfered with during the catch attempt and were awarded a penalty. With no time left, Chad Townsend kicked for goal but missed leaving the score at 10 all. A superb half of counter-plays from both teams.

Auckland were the better starters in the second half and were first to score with the big unit, forward Sam Lousi scoring a try, with Dylan Collier missing the extra two. Auckland had gained the lead for the first time in the game, 14 -10.

Cronulla weren't about to give up their lead easily, with superb play by Chad Townsend scoring off his own kick and chase. With the tricky breeze in play, Townsend missed the conversion and left the game tied at 14 all.

The next Sharks score went against the grain of the game, with the easiest of tries by Sisa Waqa who simply strolled through after a scrum feed. The conversion was also good and Cronulla regained the lead 20-14.

The Vulcans didn't help their cause with some costly handling errors. Cronulla were quick to capitalise on their mistakes with winger Nathan Stapleton sealing the deal with a try in the far right corner, Chad Townsend nailing an excellent conversion and the Sharkies had the game in the bag.

Auckland scored a late consolation try thanks to a solid run from Sam Lousi who gave off the ball to Dylan Collier. It was too little too late with Crounlla deserving winners in a very tough encounter.

Sharks coach Tony Herman was pleased in how his team dealt with the pressure applied by Auckland “They are a big strong side, they really challenge you to tackle, I thought we got some bodies inside, I thought we controlled the ruck pretty well, it was a fair effort from us”.

Final score:  Cronulla 26 defeated Auckland 18

Cronulla Tries : S Feki 2, N Stapleton, S Waqa, C Townsend

Cronulla  Conversions: C Townsend 3

Auckland Tries : D Collier 2, L Sulusi, P Godinet,

Auckland Conversions:  D Collier

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Tough tackling was the order of the day between the Sharks and Vulcans